Band Score for IELTS
Calculation of IELTS band score: calculation of section IELTS scores and average IELTS score by section
These headings should give you a basic idea of how IELTS score bands are calculated. But now let’s look at the finer details. Let me explain how points are added up and converted into group scores.
Reading and Listening To IELTS Scores
The IELTS Listening and IELTS Reading sections have 40 questions. Additionally, each of the 40 questions is worth exactly one point in the raw score. (An exam’s raw score is a score based directly on the number of questions you answer correctly.)
So you would think it would be easy to calculate the conversion from raw score to band. Right? Unfortunately no. Based on official information from the creators of IELTS, this score conversion is a bit tricky.
Percentage of Band Score You Get
For one, the percentage of correct answers you get won’t be the same as the percentage of band points you get. For example, if you get 16 of the 40 questions required in the IELTS hearing, 40% of your answers are correct. However, you will get a band score of 5, or 55.5% of the 9 possible band points.
But it’s even more complicated than that. The conversion from raw points to bands is different for IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Training Reading. For example, the creators of IELTS indicate that 30/40 in academic reading is band 7, while 30/40 in general education reading earns band 6.
IELTS General and Academic Learning
Now this is where it gets really confusing: the official IELTS tests makers charts don’t even cover all the listening and reading groups. The official conversion chart only covers groups 5-8 for IELTS listening and IELTS Academic Reading. So the chart only covers groups 4-7 for IELTS General Training Reading. You can take help of overseas education consultants for choosing the suitable IELTS course for you. And there is no mention of half-bands. You cannot see the raw score for bands 5.5, 6.5, etc. So it’s hard to say exactly what you need to get a good IELTS score that isn’t a whole number.
For the official table, go to the IELTS.org score conversion page and look at the second table.
Now there are many unofficial charts that show score conversions for other groups. But beware, all other IELTS score conversion tables are unofficial and may not match current IELTS scoring methods. They may or may not really show you if you have a good IELTS score.
Wikipedia Article on IELTS
My favorite unofficial chart is from the Wikipedia article on IELTS. This more or less matches the data from IELTS.org. And it’s based on an unofficial online IELTS band score calculator. Although this service is not sponsored by the makers of the test, I have found it to be quite reliable. Many students of mine have also used this chart to predict if they will get a good IELTS score.
IELTS Writing and Speaking Scores
IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking scores are based on written and oral rubrics. Trained IELTS scorers use the rubrics to directly calculate a band score; no raw score is calculated beforehand.
So what are the exact rubrics used by IELTS markers? Well, these headings are not accessible to the public. But the standards for rubrics aren’t exactly a secret. They are based on the official IELTS band descriptions for IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking.
Full Test IELTS Scores: Bringing it All Together for an Average IELTS Score
As I mentioned before, your composite score for the whole test is the average of the four IELTS section band scores. In other words, your ability to get a good IELTS score on the whole test depends on your moving average from each part of the test.
So the question is, if your average IELTS score is not a full band or half band, how do you round the number? According to IELTS.org, you round to the nearest group if your average is X.25 or more, and you round to the nearest group if your average IELTS score is X.25 or less.
To show you how this works, let’s say you get the following skill bands on IELTS: 4.5 Listening, 6.5 Reading, 7 writing and 5.5 speaking. To get the average, add them together and divide by 4:
4.5 + 6.5 + 7 + 5.5 = 23.5
23.5/4 = 5.875
These rounded up to an IELTS Band 6.
On the other hand, suppose another student got these upper section IELTS scores:
7 + 7 + 7.5 + 7 = 28.5
28.5/4 = 7.125
That would round up to an average IELTS score of 7. (And by many standards, an IELTS score is pretty good!) Improve that score slightly with 7+7+7.5+7.5, and you get 29/4, which equals 7.25, which rounds up to IELTS Band 7.5.
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Also Read: How to manage your time in IELTS Reading task?